NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday September 4, 2019 – The death toll from Hurricane Dorian’s passage through the Bahamas has increased to seven, and Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said that number could rise even further as the full extent of the monster storm’s impact is realized.
After doing an aerial tour of the Abaco Islands which Dorian ripped through as a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds around 185 miles per hour on Sunday, Minnis told a press conference last night that in addition to the five previously confirmed dead, two of the 25 people who had been rescued had died of their injuries after being transported from Abaco to New Providence. He could not confirm the ages or sex of the victims.
“I want to assure and inform the Bahamian population that we can expect more deaths to be recorded. This is just preliminary information,” he said.
Urging people not to circulate photos or videos of the dead, Minnis added: “Let us have some compassion for the families of those who lost their lives. Let us pray for them. Please, I ask you to avoid sending or sharing images of those who perished in the storm. Let us act with compassion. Do not make the grief process worse for families by spreading pictures.”
Reporting on the damage in the Abacos, the Prime Minister said parts of the island had been “decimated”, with severe damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. He said the southern part suffered less devastation than the north.
The main centre, Marsh Harbour, including the airport, has been severely damaged; 60 per cent of the homes in North Abaco are damaged; the National Airport in Abaco is underwater, the runway is flooded and the surrounding area is like a lake; and the Mudd, a shantytown of Haitian immigrants, is completely destroyed.
The Prime Minister said the priority at this time is “search, rescue and recovery”.
The United States Coast Guard is assisting the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force with search and rescue efforts and transporting the injuries and critically ill off the island.
A 600-foot ship of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, stocked with food and supplies, was expected to arrive in the Abacos last night; and additional food, water and health supplies is expected to be supplied by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) today.
And now that Dorian has passed Grand Bahama, which was hammered for a day and a half as the hurricane slowed to a crawl before becoming stationary for several hours, officials will do an initial assessment of that island.